“Turkey must take urgent, essential measures to reinstate confidence in the judiciary and correct the damage caused to the Constitutional State during and after the emergency”: these is what Dunja Mijatović, Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, sais at the end of a five-day visit to Turkey. The Commissioner stated that the independence of the Turkish judiciary has been seriously endangered during this time, not least by changes in the Constitution concerning the Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors, “clearly clashing – a note from Strasbourg explains – with the rules of the Council of Europe, and by the suspension of protection and of the usual procedures for the dismissal, recruitment and appointment of judges and public prosecutors”. Therefore, Mijatović adds, “the Turkish judiciary’s current trend to place the protection of the State above the protection of human rights has got remarkably stronger, and legal proceedings have often been reduced to a mere formality, especially in cases concerning terrorism. In countless other cases, the judiciary is literally overridden, even for measures that have huge impact on people’s fundamental rights, such as some restrictions on movement or the right to practise as a lawyer”.
“Turkish has the right and duty to fight terrorism and organised crime, not least in response to the coup attempt of 15th July 2016”. But “there is no security without respect for human rights, and at the same time people cannot enjoy their human rights if they do not feel safe. Disregarding human rights in this fight against terrorism undermines the Constitutional state and confidence in the judiciary”.